People in EHRI: Adina Babesh – Works for the EHRI Team at CegeSoma

Thursday, 11 April, 2019

Adina Babesh works at the Belgian State Archives - Centre for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Society. She is involved in EHRI Work Package 9 on Data Identification and Integration and Work Package 11 on Users and Standards.

A usual day starts for me early around 6-6:30am. I am by no means a morning person, but I prefer having a nice seat on the two trams, which take me to work, and I can enjoy reading a few pages from a good book. ‘Autour de ton cou’ (Adichie) is a favorite these days in an effort to improve my French!

I arrive at work around 8:00am, where I start by sorting out the emails, checking the meetings scheduled and planning the day/week ahead.

I joined the EHRI project in 2015, as part of the research team of Elie Wiesel National Institute for the Study of Holocaust in Romania. It was a great opportunity that I fully embraced, being particularly involved in Work package 9 (WP9) on data identification and integration, and also helping the EHRI project manager at Elie Wiesel with different administrative and managerial tasks. The beginning was a bit challenging: I remember reading the grant agreement a few times and trying to grasp its content, uncovering the mysteries of the budget, or understanding the requirements of the first report to the EC.

I immediately enjoyed the Project, and above all, I appreciated working with my EHRI colleagues. I think the community EHRI is building is one of its best outcomes.

After several years of data integration, organizing project meetings and workshops, and attending countless Skype meetings at Elie Wiesel, in 2018 I joined the EHRI team at CegeSoma. My duties expanded and this allowed me to have a larger impact on the project. My current tasks involve the evaluation and the selection of data integrated in the EHRI Portal, coordinating the work of local experts, creating and updating manuals, tutorials and country reports, and communicating project results. I am still active in WP9, and I have now added WP11 on users and standards to my portfolio.

I particularly enjoy working with the local experts. I learn a lot about Holocaust history in their countries, the particularities of archives and Holocaust related material, and the challenges they face in accessing these sources. I am happy to support them, and I praise the results of their work. 

I have been working in Holocaust research for more than ten years, and my education portfolio lists a PhD ’13, from the National School for Political Studies and Public Administration in Romania, and MAs in social sciences and humanities from Central European University ’06 (Hungary), University of Bucharest ’08 (Romania) and Hebrew University of Jerusalem ’11 (Israel).

At the end of the workday, I take the same trams back home, where I spend the evenings catching up with my parents, acting as sous-chef in the kitchen, doing some inevitable housework, or watching documentaries. The weekends are more active with walks in the city and surroundings with my partner, meetings and chats with friends, or enjoying a chocolate gaufre on special days.